By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ers were riding high after beating the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night. They faced a game Dallas Mavericks squad that was looking to stop their momentum. The Sixers used a third quarter offensive explosion to beat Dallas 111-101.
Philadelphia had another slow start as they missed some of their early shot attempts. The Mavericks took full advantage of the early power outage as they went on a seven to- nothing scoring run, and before Philly could even get settled, they were down seven-zero early in the first quarter. They weathered the early storm and battled back. Joel Embiid led them he scored 18 of his 32-points by half-time. He got whatever he wanted from the field as the Mavericks have no player on their roster who was equipped to stop him. He got their big men in early foul trouble and was hitting his shots from the perimeter and the paint. His improved playmaking was on display again tonight as he found his teammates wide-open shot opportunities, when Dallas dared to double, or triple team him. It is a great development for the Sixers as they continue to build chemistry with only 14 games left in the regular season.
Despite the offensive explosion from Embiid. The Mavericks weathered the storm and were able to retake the lead in the third quarter. They were threatening to run the Sixers off the court. Jalen Brunson led them as he scored 24-points and singlehandedly kept Dallas in the game. He had a homecoming for the ages as until late in the second quarter he did not miss a shot. Philly could not stop him, and it did not matter who they put on him. He would make the Sixers pay for daring to give him space to get a shot up.
The Sixers were able to put the game away thanks to Georges Niang hitting six three-pointers in the third quarter. He put the team on his back late in the third quarter when the Mavericks were trying to put Philly away. Niang scored 12-points off the bench. Philly needed all those points to keep the Mavericks down. Niang’s scoring off the bench continues to be pivotal for Philly. As they continue to try to figure out what bench rotation works when either Embiid or Harden go to the bench. Niang has found chemistry with both Embiid and Harden and that has made him an important player off the bench.
On how he feels when his shots are falling, “It feels a lot better than missing shots let me tell you that. This place was electric… my emotions took me away,” said Niang.
The Sixers will now prepare for the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night. They will need to have another balanced scoring night. Additionally, they will need to have another great perimeter defensive performance if they want to stop Fred VanVleet and get their 44th win of the season.